BRIEF HISTORY OF COATESVILLE

Written

This Sesquicentennial Year 1966

 

JOE H. DAVIDSON

 

(Edited and Remarks by JerryLynn Bryant Wingler, ca. 2000)

 

CHAPTER HEADINGS

             1.  The Town Named

             2.  Early Business Establishments

             3.  Schools

             4. Churches

             5. Town Tragedies

             6. Those of Honorable Mention

             7. Morticians

             8.  Town Characters

             9. Post Masters

            10.  Coatesville Politics

            11. Customs and Prices

            12. Cemeteries

            13. Coatesville Soldiers

            14.  The Town in Civil War Days

            15. Signs, Superstitions and Remedies

            16.  Coatesville Base Ball

            17.  Beginning Basket Ball

            18.  clubs and Lodges

            19.  Present Businesses

            20.  The Library

            21.  Bank

            22.  Town Newspapers

            23.  Happenings of Other Days

            24.  A Star in Their Crown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHORT HISTORY OF CLAY TOWNSHIP

 

            A long ago published history of Hendricks County states that "In 1845 the Township (Clay) was formed by separating from the North end of Franklin Township three tiers of sections of land and taking three sections off the Southeast corner of Marion Township."  A board of county commissioners ordered this.  The first settlers came into this township around 1825.  The first families were Tinchers, Hadleys, Hodsons, Benbows, Kerseys, Hunts, Wests, Osburns and Hancocks.

            The township in all likelihood took its name from the Virginia-Kentucky lawyer and statesman Henry Clay.  There are within the confines of the township the following towns and villages:  A part of Hadley that lies South of the Big 4 railroad; Amo, a town of some 475 residents; Coatesville, situated in the Western part of Clay; Reno a village a mile North and two other villages seldom thought of or recognized today; Springtown, once known as Sprinfield; and East of Amo, on the Vandalia railroad a onetime village called Pecksburg.  This last named place once boasted a grist mill, a store and a Post office.  A man by the name of John Sheerer operated a general store.  Two outstanding families here for several years were the Reitzels and the Tresters.

            Amo was laid out around 1850 by Joseph Morris and was at first called Morristown.  Among the early families here were the names, Owens, Rudd, Coffin, White, Doan, Summers, Cosner, Rogers, Hill, Hunt, Layman, Kersey, Benbow, Kendall, Tincher, and Masten.

                        Coatesville took its name from an early settler named Henry Coates and a plot of the town was laid out around 18509.  By this data a Methodist Church had been erected and several families had moved in to take advantage of what a new railroad had to offer.  Familiar early names here were Blair, Elrod, Gambold, Bourne, Bryant, Sharpe, Shields, Masten, Knight, McAninch, Kelso and Stanley.  Some very early citizens were the Spaughs who belonged to a Moravian Brotherhood and built a church in the South part of town.

            Reno came into folks, knowledge and talk about 1852.  It's first families were Greenlees, Christys and the Mendenhalls.

            Hadley was a cluster of small houses around 1852 and was from the first a decidedly Quaker community.  Names of families here to be remembered were Christy, Hadley, Wheeler, Stanley and Hayworth.

            Each and every town and village in Clay Township has had its share of folks who have won fame or at least praise in some form of endeavor.

            Coatesville has sent forth its college teachers in the persons of Claude O'Neal, Frank Davidson, James Elrod, Willard Gambold, Laura Bryant and Ardith Phillips.  This small town gave South Dakota Charles Elrod as governor.  It has furnished the Big Ten with a basketball player and a noted football center.

            The town likes to boast of its commercial artist, David Hadley and a Terre Haute minister, Allan Harlan.

            Andy Layman of Amo was several years ago the third best shot putter in the State of Indiana.

            Hadley, though a mere village had its David and Sarah Hadley who were once considered the outstanding Quaker ministers of the Western Yearly Meeting.

            This village also gave the township and state a noted artist, Clifton Wheeler.

            Addison Coffin belonged to both Hadley and Amo.  He was a remarkable man in that he belonged to the Underground Railroad, was a farmer, traveler, lecturer and author.

            Little, old Pecksburg gave our State Arthur Trester who helped to organize and was later the Commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.  Arthur was often called the "Czar" but one thing was sure; he brought to the State schools, clean and organized athletics.

( Hence the Trester award, given by the state to an outstanding basketball player.)

            To Springtown goes the honor of the first election ever held in Clay Township.  A record of this election gives the names of over a hundred voters.

            In politics Clay Township has consistently voted Republican.  It was voting that ticket for Abraham Lincoln and it has changed but little since his day.  Just now and then is a Democrat Trustee.

            Clay Township is an agricultural township with hundreds of acres of fairly level land, well drained and the type that, farmed as it is today, produces bumper crops of corn, wheat, soy beans or whatever crop the farmer decides to grow.

(In the year 2000, the township remains primarily an agricultural area, but the "hundreds of acres of fairly level land" has been dotted with subdivisions.  Frontage of long standing farm land has been sold for building lots.  The Wendell Elrod farm has been sold and subdivided along with the Carol and Waldo Brown acreage on the north end of Coatesville.  Coatesville resisted the temptation of an "addition" in the 60's, unlike Bellville and Clayton, but succumbed in the 90's.  Everett Smith developed the Brown farm, and Roland Neier developed the Elrod farm.)

            The township has had a people who believed in education and from very early times they have endeavored to have the best of schools for their children.

 

FOREWORD

 

            These few pages written about Coatesville and her people were undertaken after a Shortridge girl wrote to the Public Library and asked for information concerning this Hendricks County Town.  Mrs. Geneva Herod said after looking over some prepared sheets for this schools girl, "You should write up all these interesting things about our Town, have the pages typed or printed and placed into the Library for future reference."

 

            While conversing with Almon Buis he suggested I do some writing on Coatesville's history and Mrs. Ester Awbrey suggested this same thing several years ago.

 

            In the brief space of twenty or thirty pages one cannot mention everyone who has ever made the Town his home.  Neither can one recount all the business changes that have occurred over the years.  If family names are left out that should have been mentioned it is due to oversight, and not to any prejudices, to memory failure, or of having never learned the facts.

 

            There are few folks today who can recall "Pud" Lineberry's baseball career or the old brick layer, Ben Harlan who used to say, "You never can tell what'll happen in this Country."

 

            This story is in no way a complete picture of Coatesville as it was years ago.  The writer has tried to give his reader something to talk about, to ponder over, to start older ones reminiscing, and to provoke a smile here and there.

 

            Thanks are due Mr. & Mrs. C.D. Knight, and Mr. Charley Wright for information given on the town before my own time and to all others who helped in some way with this story.

 

            Since 75 years ago Coatesville has undergone great changes and maybe moreso its citizenry.  There are no more hearty "Amens" in our churches.  Some of our ministers could have a weak heart.  Individuals seem more bent on serving themselves and just letting the neighbor alone.  There are few if any early evening-until-bedtimes calls among neighbors, for pleasant conversation and helping with a chore.  Railroading was once done the hard way.  Farming was in early days an occupation one could fall back on when he had failed at everything else but it has now become a scientific pursuit as well as a big money venture.

 

            Where "faith" was years ago the keystone of one's religious life the world "doubt" has somewhat supplanted it.

 

            Citizens of every station are a more sophisticated people than those of fifty years ago.  The money that present day folks make and spend would have seemed a millionaire's privilege when this town was young.  Coatesville homes of today would have been palaces to the pioneers who first staked off lots.

 

(As I (Jerry Lynn Bryant Wingler) sit at my computer terminal entering this document that I found during our move from Coatesville, our home town to Danville, I wonder what Mr. Davidson would have thought of the year 2000.  He and his wife Mable were my grade school teachers.  Mable teaching me more than my geography, but that I shouldn't crumble my crackers into my chili-soup, and Joe who told endless stories to Tommy Dean and me on rainy Saturday afternoons spent in the library.  Joe was a Town Historian, and I believe he would be pleased that his "History of Coatesville"  would be preserved in the Indiana Room of the Danville Public Library.  I have tried to enter it as it was presented, warts and all.  I have also tried to add to his accounts when I could "fill in the blanks".  The accuracy of his statistics and data was his responsibility, and I'll try to be as accurate as he was accurate.  Please forgive my grammar and spelling... I'm an artist... not a writer or an English major.  I've left Joe's grammar and spelling alone.  If it was good enough for him... then it's OK for the Indiana room.)

 

HISTORY OF COATESVILLE

 

            It is difficult for anyone today to put his finger on a specific day and year and say: "Coatesville started then"  Zone authority states that a town plot of some kind was made of the town in the early 60's, (that's 1860's) however, there had been a village for a number of years prior to a plotting.  During the days of the Civil War the town was active in trade, in drink, and pretty radical at times in its political views.  More than one young man old enough to go to the war but was still at home farming was caught when he went to town and was lucky to get home with a whole hide.  "Home guards" as they were called gave so-called slackers and draft dodgers an initiation they never quite forgot.

 

            The Methodist people started a church here in 1860, and since it started with a fair membership the supposition is that the town had been growing for several years.

            Wendell Elrod states that the name "Coatesville" came from an early settler named Henry Coates who gave some land for a town site and because of his liberal offering the village took and has retained his name. (The town has also been known as West Milton and nick named "Chizzletown".

 

            The town really got started when the Pennsylvania Rail Road was completed in the early 1850's.  The early and influential folks were Mastens, Elrods, Newmans, Phillipses and Blairs.  Wendell Elrod says that a grandmother of his was a Blair and that most of these early builders of the town were North Carolina Stock.

 

            Some of those who came later were the Bryants, Elliss, Sharps, Campbells, Knights, Browns, Pikes and others.  Uncle Abner Miller farmed south of town and taught in some of the nearby schools long ago.  He was a Quaker and a grandfather of Mrs. Luna Lisby and Mrs.. Eva Lineberry.  His daughter married Tom Campbell.  Tom was a farmer and an early undertaker.

 

COATESVILLE BUSINESSES  EARLY DAYS

 

In the days of the long ago a two-story woolen mill stood directly over the small branch that wanders East of the present elevator.  No one living can give the name of the Mill owner who bought local wool and made it up in some form for sale.

 

            On West Main and South of the Atlas Stewart (2 doors west of the large storage bin of the elevator) home Alex Petrow years ago had a saw mill and log yard.  It was operated by a man by the name of Lynch.

 

            Further West on Main St. and on the South side was a tile works owned and operated by E.R. Ellis.  Farmers from far and near came to buy drain tile for their land.

 

            At the far Northeast side of town Gideon Pruitt made brick that were used in many buildings and chimneys here and elsewhere.

 

            Davis and Johnson operated a flour mill where the elevator stands and East of it was the Willaim Mason Carpenter shop.  Farther East was Uncle Jack Burke's harness shop and nearer town was the Newt Lakin place for farm machinery and buggies and the Otto Lakin mortuary.

 

            At the West edge of town old Mr. Lisby had a small nursery and sold fruit trees to many farmers.

 

            Carl Dent owned a grocery about where the present Post Office is located and later a Danville man had a bakery going for a few months.

 

            Bryant & Draper had a big general store on the corner of Main & Milton where the printing office is today and across the street on the other corner was the Doc Campbell store that handled groceries, meat, eggs, poultry and carried a line of dress goods, shoes for the entire family and suits for boys and men.  Both stores sold oranges a cent each, sausage 8 cents, bacon 15, and ham 25.  When a customer paid his bill he was rewarded with a big sack of candy or other treat.

            An early blacksmith was Frank Roberts.  Other smiths were John Jenkins and Noah Siler on West Main and later on Fred Stewart, Wash Stewart owned shops and a Mr. Russell operated a shop that was South of the Railroad and Elevator.

 

            On South Milton across the Railroad stood the Stanley store and the Dave Campbell hardware.  John Walton had a tin shop and plumbing shop and Mat Masten had a lumber office, work shop and lumber yard.

 

            When Uncle Dave Campbell was asked by a customer for something he did not happen to have his reply to them was always "It'll be here on local tomorrow."

 

            On Main St. East of the Elevator once stood the M.F. Bennet marble shop and later Pruitt had a studio.  Farther East was the Oscar Stevenson livery barn, once owned by Lawrence Smith and Eleaser Kersey.  The man who looked after the rigs at the barn was Mike Bundy.

 

            The Town at one time had four doctor's offices.  On West Main was the office of Dr. Williams and on the North side of the street was the office of Dr. Charles Hope and Dr. Stephen Hunt.  Over the bank was the office of Dr. Elvora Wright.

 

            About where the Wallace building is today (three doors west of the stop light on the north side of the street) was once the site of the Jake Huber restaurant.  It was taken over by his daughter Mrs. Flora Gambold and still later made into a grocery and meat market by John J. Gambold.

 

            On the Northeast corner of Main & Milton once stood the John Hodson barber shop where shaves were a dime and a hair-cut as quarter.  Behind the Campbell store on East Main Frank Knight had a barber shop.

 

            From very early times Coatesville has had a drug store in some form or other.  An early one was owned by Dick Bryant and then by Jim Bourne, later by Joe Sharp.  One was owned around 1900 by Dr. O'Brien.

 

            On Milton street near the center of town Roscoe Knight and his father Lloyd Knight operated a grocery and a drug store combined and on the side of handled many magazines.

 

            Near the Jack Gambold grocery Prentice and Emmett Bourne had a pool room taken over later by Van Montgomery.

 

            The town once had two saloons, one operated by "Ceph" Steers and one by Gideon Pruitt.

 

            A hotel once stood a few doors East on Mains Street's south side owned by John Brown.  His daughter, Mrs. Kate McClure at a later period had a hotel where the bank now operates.  (Referring to the north west corner building in the center of town, now known as the Coatesville Town office.  The bank moved out to State Road 75 in the early 1980's.)

 

            Virgil Rollings had an office building and picture show on the East side of North Milton and on a lot nearby kept wire fencing and posts.

 

            South on Milton where the Walter's garage (Now Everett Smith's garage.) is located the Weir sisters owned a home and operated a millinery shop.  Next door, Mrs. Tom McAninch engaged in dress making.

 

            A creamery once blessed the town on Water Street, a Carnegie Library was erected on the site of the Bundy Cabin and electric lighting came to town.

 

            A Dr. Stone started a dental office but soon left for Indianapolis.

 

            Ira Masten opened a Chevrolet sales room and garage and Mr. Hathaway built a printing office and started a first class weekly paper called "The Coatesville Herald".  Harmon Hathaway, the son carries on printing of many kinds in his shop on the corner of Main and Milton.  (In the year 2000 the print shop is still there, on the south west corner of Main and Milton  and is owned and operated by Mrs. Avis Zoder after the death of her husband Charles Zoder.)

 

            Ed. Mark, on the alley that is now marked Hadley Street had a shop of three small rooms.  It could easily have been called "The Old Curiosity Shop" for it contained a little of everything in the way of watches, clocks, cheap jewelry, bicycles and bicycle parts, guns, pistols and you name it--Ed. had it somewhere and could be found after a long search.  Ed. had taken a course in watch repairing and could, when called upon, turn out a perfect balance staff or any part needed for watch, clock or gun.

 

            His shop was the rendezvous for half the boys in town who had something that had broken down.

 

            A gentleman drove into town one time in a big Pierce-Arrow car and it went dead about where the Biehl lot is at present.  (At present, in the year 2000, Nier Bros. is in this building.)   Joe Harper worked on the stalled car and found a piece broken that was vital to the cars' starting.  He told the owner that the part could not be had under three or four days.  Then a happy thought struck Joe.  He said to the car owner, "Let's take this part of Ed. Marks."  They did and in an hour or two Ed. had sawed out and filed a dead image of the original mechanism.  The piece was installed and the car came to life.  Everyone was happy.  "What do I owe you?" the car owner inquired.  Ed. answered, "About a dollar, I guess."  "Well", said the gentleman, "here is a five and don't try giving me back any change."  What others gave up as impossible to do in the way of machine repair, Ed. could do and enjoyed it.

 

COATESVILLE SCHOOLS

 

In early days the town's school was like the one mentioned in "The Hoosier School Master."  These early school terms were poor because there were big, bad and sometimes brutal boys who took delight in running a teacher out as soon as possible.  Wash Stewart once related the following tale:  A teacher had been driven out early in the Fall and the school official brought in a slim, wiry man with a keen eye to take his place.  The first morning he rang the hand bell, locked the door and laid down his rules.  It took but a few minutes for the largest bully in the room to break the rule.  He and the new teacher had some words and the teacher was invited to meet him halfway.  When they met there were two tremendous licks struck.  The teacher's fist connected with the bully's nose and the bully hit the floor partially paralyzed.  He had to be helped to his feet and have his face washed for as Wash said, "He was as bloody as a butcher."

 

            No other pupil crossed the teacher's path during the remainder of the term and Coatesville had a good school.

 

            One of the early teachers was John Phillips, another was John Wishard, John Figg, a dread to bad boys, Alvin Woodard, a keen Quaker with a ready smile, Elza Greenlee, a roly-poly man who could make grammar as plain as day to the dullest pupil and who knew countless stories about famous historical characters.  In the lower grades some of the teachers were Josie Hadley, and later her sister Ella Gambold.  Others were Ossie Overman, Lela Hancock, Awnza Dunnigan and Belva Hockett.

 

            Ed. Woods of Hadley came to town at a time when the school had reverted to little learning and too much boisterous conduct.  Ed. was quite hefty and as a patron expressed it, "Ed. tied knots in their tails."

 

            Bill Westerfield was a short, heavy man with a keen sense of humor and a lot of business about him.  He put up with no foolishness, however he was kind to all who wanted good treatment.  One of his pupils described him in this way:  "He's a mighy good 'rithmeticker."  And Bill was just that.

 

            In the early schools of 1892 and on to 1900 one of the early helps toward learning was the old slate and slate pencil.  Any school parent could by a singe slate or a double one at almost any country store.  The single slate allowed the pupil to put problems or whatever the work might be on two sides, whereas the double slate had four sides for numbers and writing.  This was the more sophisticated slate.

 

            Girls, as a rule, who used slates had a wet rag or a sponge tied by a length of string to the desk and this was used to erase any writings from their slates, however, the boys considered this as "sissy" and when any work on their slates was no longer needed they spit on the slate and then used their hand or preferably a coat sleeve to obliterate all work.  When Spring of the year came and the school was ready to dismiss in March, most coat sleeves had absorbed so much saliva and so much rubbing that they had a shiny glaze, that resembled a skating pond.

 

            In these good old days children of school age had no shots given them by the doctor for colds, measles, croup or for any child disease.  To ward off these childhood sicknesses a father purchased a quantity of asafetida at the drug store and Mother made a neat little sack to hold it and the sack was then tied around Johnny's neck.  Now and then he chewed a bit on the sack to get the taste as well as the smell of the drug and this was his protection against whatever disease might be carried into the school.

 

            Water for the pupils was from a well in the school yard and a handy tin cup on the pump or the water was carried from a spring and the bucket placed in the rear of the schoolroom.  Pupils took turns drinking the water and passing the tin cup or dipper about.

 

            Children in these early Coatesville schools while handicapped by lack of maps, library books, proper sanitation, uneven heat in the school rooms and never a doctor or nurse to examine for diphtheria, scarlet fever, or tuberculoses, youngsters grew up somehow and had bully good times.  They played antey-over, town ball, stink base, drive the old sow, shinny, black man and when deep snows came they played fox and goose, whipcracker and snowballed one another.  Games were often rough but children enjoyed them.  They often went on bob sled rides and many had a horse and sleigh at home often the children came and went in this easy running vehicle.

 

            Spelling matches were held sometimes at night where old and young all took part.  Now and then through winter months neighbors had taffy pullings.  Maple syrup was dirt cheap and it was poured into a kettle and cooked until it began to thicken.  It was then poured into dishes and each and every person present started pulling this taffy.  It would often "sugar" and was about as good candy as one could ever find.

 

            For school lunches the youngsters had sausage or souse sandwiches, quite often ham or shoulder, eggs, and friend pies made of dried peaches or apples.

 

            There was never much show of money among the school boys, even in the seventh and eighth grades.  Occasionally a lad who trapped and sold fur would now and then display some change.  Boys often made some money in the Fall cutting corn at ten cents a shock, cut 12 hills quare and then in the Spring when the shock corn was to be husked the boys might make several dimes.  Money was hard to come by for both men and boy.

 

            Most school boys wore long pants and in early days more copper-toed boots.  The girls wore heavy knitted hose they called "stockings" and their dresses were around their ankles.  They often came with "facinators" over the carefully plaited hair.

 

            In small schools like Coatesville had in the days of 50-60 years ago there were cliques among both boys and girls as there is today.  Girls from the better homes were the chums of girls who moved in that had fathers and mothers with superior clothes, homes furniture and more money.  This was equally true for boys.

 

            What, one might ask, were the interests of boys growing up in 1900 or before?  They were often dazzled by the express train or freight passing through town or switching for stock cars or wheat and corn loaded cars at the grist mill.  They often talked about being a fireman, a brakeman, conductor or section hand and many took up this work if fathers were so employed.  Now and then a boy wanted to operate a huxter wagon that was pulled by two horses and the wagon had shelves loaded with store merchandise.  Beneath the wagon were coops for hauling turkeys and chickens.  One who drove such a wagon would go about the country-side selling goods and hauling home eggs, poultry, butter and at certain times of the year meat, both fresh and smoked.  This job gave a young man a fine chance to get acquainted with young women all about the country.  Clerking in the town grocery or meat market gave one an equal change of meeting the fair sex.  Clerks often wore fancy silk sleeve holders.

 

            Not very many hoped to prepare themselves for teaching.  This meant going to school for several weeks, tied down to books at study tables and then having to pass difficult examinations for a license.  (Please note, Joe Davidson was a teacher.)  After a license was acquired there came another difficulty.  If the boy or girl came from a Democrat family he often found it a tough job to secure a school from a Republican trustee and the same for the other way round.

 

            Girls in the good old days were not expected to carry their education very far and many a parent and grand parent said when quizzed as to whether Jane would go to Normal school, "No, she's not going.  There's no use spending a lot of good money on a girl when she intends to marry some day."

 

            Many lads hoped to take over the farm at a time when father got too old for the hard work and this was generally around 50 to 55.

 

            Some girls from poorer homes had to work in other homes as "hired girls".  Here they could earn their board and keep and make from a dollar to two dollars a week.  An eighth grade girl who was willing to run errands, tend a baby, help with the washing and ironing, do the sweeping and numerous other chores could earn about fifty cents a weeks.  Pay for labor was low in those far away days.

 

SCHOOL BOOKS AND EXAMINATIONS

 

            Some of the early books used were Ray's Arithmetic.  A very difficult one was known as Rays 3rd. Part.  A later text was one by White and about 1903 was a text by Cook & Cropsey.  This Arithmetic had long problems in interest and partial payments, stocks, bonds and brokerage, circular measure, square and cube root, and proportion.

 

            The readers used were at one time the Winston.  The stories and poems were quite interesting to most children.  A grammar text used around 1900 was a little book written by Mary Hyde.

 

            Other texts in use were geographys by Frye, a physiology and spelling.  In the rural schools few pupils did any work toward improving their writing.

 

            Spelling matches were held every now and then on Friday afternoons and these helped to fix in a pupil's mind, words that otherwise would never have been learned.

 

            The teachers who taught had to pass a written examination given usually in a County seat court room or in a large school assembly.  The teacher could start on the last Saturday of January, February, March, April, May and June and as a rule no more tests until the next year.  A teacher was allowed to start teaching on a six month's license but was later changed to a years license.

 

            Grades for a year's license meant making an average of 80 and not falling below 75 in any subject.  Everyone writing had to answer some six out of ten questions asked and must write on Science of Education.

                       

            A 24 month's license required grades of 90, not falling below 80 in any subject and a 36 month's license required a teacher to average 95, not falling below 85.

 

            Most teachers who hoped for better schools and better pay worked diligently for the highest grade of license graded at the State Dept. of Education rather than graded at the County seat by the Co. Supt.  One gave a license to teach anywhere within the State, the last named to teach within the County where the examination was taken and graded.

 

CHURCHES

 

One of the very early churches in town was one built where the Davidson home now is located.  (In Coatesville, at the intersection of Von Tress and S. Milton, on the West side of Milton.)  It was built by the Moravians and what is now a back garden lot was once a Moravian Cemetery.  A number of marble markers are in evidence today and the largest one records the death of Albert Charles Spaugh who died in 1857.  He was married to a Mary Baughman and she died leaving Albert with 4 children.  He later married her sister Eliza and when he died he left her with 9 children.  This Moravian brotherhood died out and the churches became a hardware store for a Mr. Job on Main Street near the center of town.

 

            The Methodist had a large following here and built a church on North Milton.  When it burned another frame structure took its place.  When this edifice was destroyed by a tornado in 1948 a new and beautiful church was erected of brick to take its place.

 

            The Christian folks had a goodly number of members in a church that stood on the North side of West Main, half-way between the Elevator and the center of town.  When this was destroyed in the 1948 storm a new church was built on Hadley Street.

 

            The Baptist people have also a new church of stone veneer South of Milton Street.  The town has and the Community about it many Baptist believers.

 

            Years ago a Quaker Church stood in the East side of Town where the old Main Street road made a square turn North.  (The site of the NAPA Parts store.)  There were many more Quakers in Nearby Amo and Hadley and the Coatesville church lived but a few years.

 

            On Walnut Street the Primitive Baptist have a small, frame church.  The few who attend are for the most part elderly people.  The tornado somehow spared this church.  One of the preachers in times past has been Elder Fisher.  (This church is in disrepair but still stands.  Meetings are held in the community building.)

 

            A few of the former pastors who made a more lasting impression on their members might be mentioned.  For the Methodist could be named Reverend McHaffie, Carlyle Mason, Bill Farmer and Bill Pender.

 

            For the Christian people, one would have to name Reverend Connor, Frank Davisson & Jack Nichols.

 

            Along about 1910 the Baptist folks had a grand old minister that every churchman in town loved and respected and he was knows as "Daddy" Sherill.  The present minister, Malcom Neier is a dedicated young man to his profession and his highly regarded.  (Mr. Neier retired in the mid 1980's.)

 

TOWN TRAGEDIES

 

            Coatesville has had two tragedies, the first one a wrecked passenger train on the curve at the East edge of town that killed two persons and seriously injured more than a dozen.  The wreck occurred on January 29, 1895 on a cold, snowy day.  The maimed were taken into homes and cared for by local doctors and home folks until they were able to leave.

 

            The second calamity hit on Good Friday 1948.  This tornado that wrecked the greater part of the town left 14 dead in its wake and crippled or injured in some way twice as many more.

 

            There is one murder case to record, that of Willis Haines who lived North of New Winchester.  The story goes that he had been drinking in the Dr. O'Brien drug store and became unruly.  When he persisted in his evil ways some one hit him on the head with a billy or other blunt instrument.  He was carried to the lumber yard and left to regain consciousness but died from a fractured skull.  Jack Hampton, in all likelihood innocent, stood trial for the killing and was sent to prison.  He served a year or so and came home.  Jack knew who killed Haines but rather than tell took the rap upon himself.  Later he was a town Marshall for his home town and proved a good one.

 

THOSE OF HONORABLE MENTION

 

            The question of old was, "Could any good thing come out of Nazareth?"  The question could be put to a small and rather insignificant town like Coatesville and the answer could be, "Come and see."

            The town has given to the community, state and nation men and women who have brought honor to themselves, their parents and their county.

            Edgar Ellis decided early in life on a dentist' career and made his ambition come true.  He practiced dentistry in Thorntown (Indiana) for more than a half century.

            His brother Bill Ellis graduated from Purdue and was an electrical engineer in Brazil, South America the greater part of his life.

            Among the towns athletes was Tod Wellinghoff who attended Purdue and was an all-western center on the foot ball team.

            Ardith Phillips was a Big Ten basket ball player at Indiana University and then coached the sport for several years at Ball State.  He is at present a teacher there.

            In an educational way the town is proud of Claude O'Neal who headed the Botany department at Ohio Wesleyan University until retirement time.

            Frank Davidson taught American Literature and Composition at Indiana University for thirty or more years and still advises graduate students and helps name new buildings.

            Miss Laura Bryant was a member of the Cornell Music Department for many years and was outstanding in her field.

            Sam Elrod grew up in Coatesville, went to South Dakota, made a fine 4th of July speech and was elected governor of that State.

            Willard Gambold was educated at DePauw, taught history later at Shortridge and is now assistant to the Superintendent of the Indianapolis Schools.

            James Elrod graduated from Indiana and Cornell and is now a professor in DePauw's Speech Department.

            Allan Harlan became a Butler graduate, decided on the ministry and is at present Episcopal minister of a Terre Haute church.

            In the business world Richard Knight has become a top man.  He graduated from DePauw, took advanced work at columbia and Harvard.  He is now vice-president of a company having a chain of department stores.

            His brother Robert graduated in engineering from Purdue and is now a superintendent of a big plant in Greenville, Ohio.

            Joe Elrod is another Purdue boy who holds down a responsible and well paid job at Mansfield, Ohio.

            David Hadley graduated from the John Herron School of Art with distinction.  At present he is engaged in art work at Birmingham, Mich.  David and wife both do fine commercial art work.

            C.D. Knight when a young man became a telegraph operator but later went into the newly organized bank in Coatesville and was its cashier for thirty or more years.  In years past he has been an officer and teacher in the Methodist Church and has taught adult classes for half a century.

            His wife, Daisy Job Knight started as a teacher in the Clay Township schools and like her husband has been a power in the church and was a teacher for more than fifty years.  There are few if any in town with the Bible knowledge possessed by her.

 

MORTICIANS

 

            One of the early "Undertakers" for the town was Thomas Campbell.  After him came a happy, whistling young man known as "Otty" Lakin.  The boys about town used to say, "Otty can make a dead one look better than a live one."  Otto sold out to Allan Campbell, known for his pleasant and business like ways.  When Allen went to Danville Mr. Harold (Hap) Powell took over and was a superb man at the business for several years.  The present owner of the mortuary is Mr. Weaver of Danville, (Mr. Hugh Weaver) who has done much work on the building to give the townspeople accommodations that are the equal to those of a large city.  (Mr. Weaver sold the funeral home/ furniture store to Mr. Jess Wingler who operated it for over 20 years and he in turn sold it to the current owner, Mr. Dan Hayes.) 

 

TOWN CHARACTERS

 

            Wash Stewart was a lean, sharp-jawed blacksmith with a black cap on the back of his head.  He was a fast hand at shoeing a horse and an expert at tempering an ax or chizzle.  He was a loud and excitable talker when describing an accident, a race or a shooting match that appealed to him.  He once described for a sportsman how to catch a bass.  Said Wash, "Git yourself a live mouse and put your hook right through the loose skin on his back and cast him out.  If there's a bass in a mile of that mouse he'll come to get him, but damn it!  You'll have to rest the mouse now and then.  He's no marython swimmer."

            Wash took a drink now and several times later "to keep my bad cold from settlin' on my bronical tubes."

 

            "Skid" Montgomery was slim and wiry and at any hard work was tough as a pine knot.  He "drinked some" and swore in a picturesque way without knowing it.  When asked one time to crawl under a propped up building that did not look too safe Skid surveyed it and remarked, "What is to be will be, and what ain't to be could happen!"  When he had shoveled gravel all one day behind a work train and was asked by Greeley Bryant how he felt he said, "I feel jes like a two-year old that had been damn-badly driven."  He always had an answer that fit the particular occasion.

            Skid died tragically when an interurban work car knocked him from the ends of the ties where he was walking and waving at a passing railroad crew.  He died in a weedy, roadside ditch and so passed away a boon companion and a natural humorist.

 

            The Bundy boys were born and reared in a log cabin but none of them reached or cared to occupy the President's chair.  There was Gallaterm like, Pug, Bill and Micky.  They had a lot of Irish blood in their veins and liked their "liker" all  too well.  One could enumerate their many faults, but one should recall them as constant workers who never shirked whether it was a job shoeing horse, hauling freight, tamping railroad ties or running a livery barn.  If one of them were put to work with a youngster who knew little about his task the Bundy boys never let the lad down.  The did their work and half of his and never complained.

            They loved their old Mother and when her picture burned with the old house across the tracks they sat on the wrecked furniture and cried.

             Bill liked to tell the story of the old lady who was driving her horse and buggy past his blacksmith shop and the horse suddenly fell.  When Bill informed her that her horse was dead her reply was, "He never did that before."

            The Bundy boys were ignorant of books and uncouth in many ways yet they time and again proved there was charity in their hearts.  They would have given their last penny to a needy one they happened to work beside.

            The died pretty much as they had lived and unafraid.

            Grover Hodson was a superb left-handed barber.  When in his cups he could be quarrelsome with certain boys but when sober he could be a clown.

            One time a high built machine for moving stacks of lumber was coming up the street and no one in a crowd of loafers could explain what it might be.  Someone turned and said, "Grover you name it."  Grover answered, "I'd say she's a tater digger."  The crowd yelled.

            He had a small foot and once bought a pair of lady's high heeled shoes and umpired a ball game in the one Sunday just to clown.  Before the game ended both heels were off his shoes.  When the shoe salesman came to town Grover met him, showed him the shoes and pretended to be hurt about their poor service.  The salesman's comment when he heard the story was, "We've never built that shoe or recommended it for an umpire's shoe."  Everyone laughed.

            Gover and two other fellows drove to Stilesville and had started home when he suddenly collapsed in the car and was dead.

            "Tater" Dix was an aged man who had lived for many years on his farm at the edge of town.  He had earned his nick name by growing year after year  huge potatoes.

            For years he carried sweet milk and butter milk to Mrs. Davis whose husband Billy operated the flour mill.  The mill hands were always on the lookout for Tater and whenever he stopped for a chat at the mill and set his milk jugs down, someone pulled the corks and poured in a handful or two of shelled corn.  The old man pretended that this might cause him to loose his customer but it never did and he would have wished it no other way.

            Tater was noted for buttoning the front of his pants to the wrong buttons and the fronts was forever puckered, however, he never seemed to mind.  He was a merry old soul and liked to attend the Christian Church when Communion was taken.

            Old, Uncle John Harris lived on a farm about three miles North and West of Coatesville but he did all his trading here and loafed here so often that he was considered a town character.  John was an old bachelor who loved his "tea". There are few men with as little education as he who could tell tales of dogs, wolves, and early days and keep a crowd of boys & men listening to him for hours at a time as could John.

            One night or rather early morning he and an imbibing neighbor, Ned Williams started from town in a cart and it partially loaded with groceries.  They ran into a pile of Virgil Rollings wire and fence posts and cart and groceries were on top of them.  They called for help and good Kate McClure lighted her lantern, left her hotel and went to their aid.  She helped right the cart, reload the groceries and then made John a talk:  "John, the next time you come to town leave old Ned Williams at home and you stay out of the drug store.  Get your groceries and go home before dark.  Someday or night you're going to get killed in a wreck."   

            Uncle John's answer was, "Kate, you've given me a hell-of-a lot of good advice."

            Joe Sharp was a druggist here for many years.  He had been a school teacher in his younger days and was a lover of literature, particularly the poetry of Sir Walter Scott.  It was no uncommon thing for him when poetry was mentioned to lay away his eternal cigar and climb from his store reclining chair and take the floor, no matter how many might be present.  He would strike a pose and start reciting: "Fitz-James was brave, though to his heart the life blood thrilled with sudden start.  Come one!  Come all!  This rock shall fly from it's firm base as soon as I."

            He gave it a very dramatic way.  Then he'd say, "If all teaching had been poetry like that I'd still be teaching."

 

            Jake Huber always seemed to be an elderly man.  He was short, quick to speak and was all business twenty-four hours a day.  Coatesville men and boys got at times a big kick from Jake's Dutch-English speech.  He was in the restaurant business for years with the help of his daughter Flora.  Grandson Jack used grandpa Jakes place for a hang-out and was never known to be far away at meal times.  When Jack as often helping himself to a banana the old man used to scold, "Jack hang dat banana back on the stalk."

            Boys, one Halloween backed someone's old binder against his restaurant door.  When he came to open the restaurant and saw his rusty, old machine he called to some men on the opposite side of the street and demanded "Who run this damed clover huller' gainst my door?" No one knew.

            In Jake's day commercial salesmen or 'drummers" came to town.  One such came in one morning for an order and asked, "Jake did you hear the noise?"

            "Vat noise?" Jake inquired.

            "Illinois." laughed the drummer.

            "Vel," said Jake,  "I gits that joke on my daughter Flory when I go home."  And he did.

            Walking into the home he called out, "Flory, did you hear the racket?"

            "What racket, pa?

            "Illinois." chuckled Jake.

            When some W. C. T. U. ladies were trying to raise some money and came into the restaurant Jake said to Flora, "I'm tired of givin' money to ever X-Y-Z and so forth."

 

            E.R. Ellis was a character in more ways than one.  He was a business man but a poor economist, a Democrat and a Methodist.  When he said a thing he meant it.  He hated foolishness.  He had a tile factory and supplied the farmers for miles around with his product.  His tile works was known to all the working boys as the "Penitentiary" or the shorter term "the Pen".  He was known by two names.  The workers called him "ER" to his face and "the Warden" behind his back.

            His work day was ten hours and he paid according to what he thought one did and according to the character the worker exhibited at work.  Pud Bundy received two dollars, Frank Hope one-fifty,  Tug Harlan one twenty-five and a boy who swore most of the day a dollar.

            Ellis had a keen eye and a keen mind.  He liked to dress well when he attended church or other gatherings and was polite to all ladies.  He used good English and never swore.

            When a Methodist minister hinted one time near election day that one could well serve the Lord by voting Republican Mr. Ellis picked up his hat and walked out of the church and everyone knew why but the preacher.  E.R. returned after election and slept peacefully through the sermon.

            A crowd of men were braggin in his presence about their gardens and after all had taken their hitch one turned and asked, "Mr. Ellis how is your garden?"

            "We haven't any, " said he, "My wife has been poorly all Spring."  All present got the "Wardens" point.

 

 

 

POST MASTERS

 

            An early post master was a man named Richard, a brother to Mrs. Minnie Hunt.  Later Miss Fannie McClure and Mrs. Edith Ryner held the office to be followed by D.D. Pruit, Eliza Greenlee, Frank Ellett, Arthur Newman and Mark Hadley.  (Following Mark Hadley was Mr. Dan Bennett,  with stints my Madge Greenlee,  Mrs. Frances Jones, and in the year 2000 Mrs. Patty Cummings is Post Mistress.)

COATESVILLE POLITICS

 

            Coatesville is at one end of Clay Township; with Amo at the other.  In politics Amo has never been other than decidedly Republican.  It has had this reputation since Civil War Days.  Coatesville cannot be classed either as a strong Republican or Democratic Bailiwick for in most elections the voting would be like this;  seven democrat votes to nine Republican.  When a few Republicans like the opposition candidate the town is Democratic.

            In many, many years there have been two Democrat trustees; Otis Wheeler and Clifford Hadley.  These were good men as were the Republicans, John Masten, William Hunt, Drew Coffin, John Bombei and others.

            There was a time when a teacher's politics helped him into a Clay Township school or helped him out of it.  Those days seem to be gone forever.

            In these modern times a woman has as good a chance in politics as does a man and Mrs. Madge Lydick is the present township trustee.

 

CUSTOMS AND PRICES

 

            When the church bells rang in the year 1900 the few street lights of Coatesville were glassed-in lamps or lantern like fixtures on posts.  Almost every kitchen was equipped with a wood or coal range or a coal oil or gasoline stove with a heating oven in which meat, potatoes, bread, etc. were set to keep warm until Dad or the boys arrived home.

            Washing machines were simple affairs and were a little handier and a bit faster than a wash board.  Wash water was heated often in a copper bottomed boiler and was usually put on the cook stovetop early on Monday so that the wash could be hung out by eight.  Bar soap of a brown color or lye soap was in general use.  Quite a number of women heated water in a kettle outdoors through the Summer months.  Most homes had a folding clothing rack that was put to use in bad weather.

            In these days at the beginning of the century, most men, women and children wore heavy long underwear through the Winter and long but lighter underwear for Summer.  Shorts, stretch pants and such had never been dreamed of and any woman or girl who would have gone to town in such regalia then would have been drummed out of town or considered morally hopeless.  Shoes worn by men, women and children were quite often button shoes.  Draper and Bryant, Campbell and Stanley had shoes for the whole family and a real good shoe for pop or mom would cost five dollars.  A work shoe a dollar and a half.  Kids shoes were seldom more than two.

            Some of the town's ladies wore silk hose, but more of them wore cotton.  These were usually black.  Arctic overshoes were in all their ugliness and clumsiness seen on folk's feet all Winter long.

            Farm men and boys often wore felt boots from Christmas time until plow time in the Spring.

            Sixty or seventy years ago few families had fruit on their tables as they do today.  Raisins were cooked often as were prunes.  They were plentiful in most stores and dirt cheap.  Oranges and bananas were to be had quite often but not grapefruit or fresh grapes.  The vegetables used in the home were those grown in the garden and covered in a hill of dirt to keep them fresh through the Winter months.

            Ironings were done by heating flat irons on top of the cook stove or range and often the ironing board was a kitchen table.  This chore was a hot one during the Summer.

            One could quite truthfully say that during the early 1900's the "plumbing" in all homes was outside.  Some of these outside restrooms were well built and clean for that day but many were a "disgrace to the Jaybirds."

            There were not too many things to attend in Coatesville sixty years ago.  There was no basketball to see once a week, no tournaments of any kind.  Young folks popped corn, made candy, attended dances and school box suppers and during each Winter everyone attended protracted meeting at one of the churches each night for about two weeks.

            Now and then home talent or school plays were given to liven things up.  Then there was Sunday School and Church where people could meet and visit and go home with someone for dinner.

            To most folks in those days there were three meals a day: breakfast, dinner and supper.  There was no "brunch" and no "luncheon".  It was no surprise to see a family at their breakfast table with a platter heaped with fried chicken, a big bowl of chicken gravy and plenty of hot biscuits.  "Breakfast foods" and such weak truck was not for people who earned their board by the sweat of their brow.

            Once upon a time a good breakfast was a skillet full of browned, fried potatoes and onions, for as the saying went, "They stuck to the ribs."

            Many folks in town as well as farm people butchered a beef and a few fat hogs to keep the family in meat through the Winter months.  The tongues, brains, livers, melts and such were given away to the helpers, not sold.  Pigs feet were pickled and enjoyed at the supper meal as was souse, made of the head meat of the hog.  The head meat of the beef went into good mincemeat for pies.

            A few elderly people of Coatesville still buy and eat salt fish whenever they are available and relish them as in days gone by.  When the fish was soaked in cold water overnight to remove the salt and was fried the next morning for breakfast "he" was considered mighty good with hot biscuits and "cow" butter.  Hot bread and plenty of sorghum molasses were not to be sneezed at in days past.

            Years ago a funeral home was unthought of.  When someone died some kindly intentioned neighborsman or woman came in and helped prepare the body for burial.  The body was generally taken to the church of the family's choice and a funeral sermon was preached.  Some person or persons sang two or three hymns or they were sung by all those present.  The body was hauled to the cemetery in a two-horse hearse and buried in a grave that had been dug at no expense by willing neighbors.  While the body rested in the home young and old "set up" at night with the corpse and talked and ate pie or cake and drank coffee.  Those who "set up" carried in wood or coal and kept the house warm if there was winter weather.  In those days one seldom or never saw flowers at a funeral and the old time caskets were usually black or the color of native lumber.

            How prices of all commodities have changed over the years!  If Grandfather sixty or seventy years ago had made a sale of his team and farm tools and Coatesville folks had bid them in at what was then a good price, the money would not have been enough to buy two tires for a big Farmall tractor.

            A horse sold at sales for from $30 to $100 depending on its looks, size, and the demand made upon it for speed or draft.  A big fat calf was worth ten to fifteen dollars.

            A steel beam, Scotch-Clipper, walking plow for breaking would cost around $18.  Work harness cost somewhere around that same figure.

            Men's suits could be bought at $10 to $50.  A doctor or lawyer could afford a high priced suit but the average man had a $25 coat, vest and trousers and a dollar "Katy" hat and was "dressed up".

            Overalls were once 50 cents a  wampus $.75 to $1.00 with hickory socks at ten cents a pair.

            There was a time in Coatesville that baker's bread unwrapped and unsliced could be bought at five cents a loaf.  Oysters were one time a dollar a gallon.

            Potatoes have sold at four bushels for a dollar, wheat .50, oats .10 and corn .15 per bushel.

            Wages in those days were low.  Goods were plentiful but money was dear.  A worker had plenty to eat but had very little money.  Eggs were often. 08 cents, butter .06 to 12 cents.  A man worked ten hours on the railroad section and made $1.50.  He made the same at carpentering and the young man on the farm was often glad to work for .60 a day and his dinner.

            A real good working "hired girl" that could turn out a family washing and do a good job of ironing and knew how to cook could make the sum of $2.00 a week.

            A few folks will remember that William Hunt, Clay Township Trustee hired an Irish Catholic principal for Amo High School and paid him the unheard of salary of $125. a month.  folks gasped and said, "What's the world comin' to anyhow?"  A young teacher who later taught at I. U. started teaching at Green Valley South of Amo at $1.60 a day and "had the world by the tail."

 

CEMETERIES

 

 

There are really three cemeteries inside the corporation.  One, an old one in the Eastern part of town and that is seldom or never used.  The other two are in the South end of town, the North side, the old part that extends south to a big bridged hollow and the new addition that is more level and extends East and West between the two main traveled highways.  The Eastern most Cemetery has never had a great deal of care but the South one has been insured of good upkeep by a sum of money left on interest by Rosa Evans several years ago.  She left $30,000 to the cemetery, the interest from the sum to keep the graves and roadways  in good condition.  Few cemeteries are so fortunate as this one.

            In the East cemetery one finds several oldtime marble headstones with lettering so nearly obliterated by weather and time that names and dates cannot be deciphered.  Following are a few names and dates of deaths.

            Thomas Muir    1838    Lydia Mendenhall 1865            Mariam Swain 1890                                         Elizabeth Newsom  1864            Hezekia Mendenhall  1865

            Luella Oliver     1871    Elmer Elworth  1868

            Joel Phillips  1875         Zeri Warren (No date)  An old Soldier.

            Williamson Brown  1876          David M. Swain  1876

            Joseph Warren 1906                Eliza Burgess 1908

Charley Wright, a 90 year old man says that this East Cemetery was started by the Quakers, whose church stood not far away to the North.

            In the North part of the South cemetery which is the old section some names and death dates are listed below.  The oldest burial date found was that of Mathias Masten, born 1765  and died 1856.  Other names and dates are:

 

            Martha Monnet 1879                           Mary Hibbs 1877

            Sarah Masten  1862                             Allen Job  1899

            Laura Jenkins  1881                             William Sacra 1912

            William Jenkins 1881

 

COATESVILLE SOLDIERS

 

            A history of Coatesville, long or short would be a poor recital if the soldiers were left unmentioned.  The following is a list compiled by two elderly citizens and what information could be discovered on cemetery stones.

 

REVOLUTIONARY WAR

 

            On the extreme North side of the South cemetery and near the highway is a stone bearing the name of Mathias Masten who was a soldier in the late days of the war with England.  He served 6 months.

 

CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS

 

            Only the older citizens of town now recall the civil War veterans who once were business men in the town and lent a hand in civic affairs.  It has been many years since the last memorial Service was held in one of the churches for these men who had grown gray and their ranks had been thinned by death.  It had been the custom for years for all these grand army men to sit together at one of the churches each year and listen to a program that extolled their praise for the deeds they had done.  After this service they once marched to the cemeteries together to decorate the graves of those who had passed on but as the years went by they could no longer make the trip on foot and had to be hauled.

            Some of these soldiers once so well known to Coatesville people were: Josephus Gambold, newt Lakin, John Millman, Richard Bryant, Jopseph LaMar, Edward Fry, Zimri Gambold, Jacob Huber and Zimri Warren.

 

SPANISH AMERICAN

 

            So far as can be learned there are but two men who took part in the Spanish American War of 1898.  These two are Lauren Welty and George (Snake ) Archer.

 

WORLD WAR 1

 

            When the great World War got under way it was difficult indeed to find a young man on the streets of this Clay Township town.

            The war made a great appeal to all red-blooded young men and they cast aside whatever they were engaged in and went into practically all branches of the service.

            Some of those who went were:  Frank O'Neal, Roscoe Broadstreet, Avon Draper, Wendell Elrod, Happy Rollings, Charley Crews, Clay Phillips, Paul Herod, Frank Davidson, Al Montgomery, Noel Rollings, Verl Wiseheart, Herdis Harlan, Verlie Harlan, Ralph Sechman, John Ellett, Otis Terry, Willis Masten, Herschel Cline, Atlas Stewart and Gleman Hollingsworth.

            There are no doubt other whose names could not be had at this writing.

 

WORLD WAR II

 

            Here is a partial list given by a former soldier who stated that he could not recall all those who where in service.  His list however names:  Marvin Robinson, Don Trump, Glen Johnson, JIm Elrod, Joe Elrod, Gene Wright, Glen Wellman, Charley Stewart,  Raymond Stewart, Lewis Hadley, Bill Jamison, Milus Heavin and Leonard Walton.

 

THE KOREAN WAR

 

            It would have been a wild dream indeed for one 50 years ago to have predicted that the United States would send hundreds of fighting men to Asia to fight a war against Communist Aggression, but his very thing happened in the mountainous terrain of Korea.  After questioning many Coatesville men and women as to who went to this war from here, the following names were given:  Les Collier, Rex Hathaway, Clifford Phillips and two Sechman boys, one of who was killed in action.  There are probably other lads but their names did not come to any tongue.

 

COATESVILLE IN CIVIL WAR DAYS

 

            Times were often hard during the four years of the Civil War and its aftermath.  Many of the husbands were away in the South fighting and their families suffered from lack of food and money.  Many families were divided in their loyalty and tended to fend among themselves and neighbors.  There were folks who had come to the town and community from Kentucky, a border state, and some from North Carolina.  some favored Lincoln and the war while others were bitterly opposed to it.

            Those loyal to Lincoln nick-named members of the opposition party "Butternuts" and often gave them very rough treatment if they came into town for groceries, or blacksmith work.

            Those who opposed Mr. Lincoln and his war policy were often dubbed "Copperheads" and these same folks formed clans here and there and called themselves "Knights of the Golden Circle".  So far as is known one man near Coatesville was a member of such a group.

            During the long stretch of the war many commodities were at a premium.  One of these was coffee.  To offset this loss women parched corn and wheat, ground the grains and made a palatable substitute. 

            To illustrate the bitterness that sometimes existed between families one case will suffice.  East of town lived two farmers, one a Lincoln worshipper, the other a bitter objector.  When the news came that President Lincoln had been killed the loyalist called to his neighbor across the hollow:  "I have terrible news; our beloved President has been shot."  The big neighbor continued throwing corn to his hogs and bellowed back:  "Three cheers for the man who shot him."

            After the war ended and the years sped on most of the animosity was forgotten and families that had fended became friendly and worked together as they had before the war, but wounds were a long time healing.

 

SIGNS, SUPERSTITIONS AND REMEDIES

 

            It is safe to say that in the very early days the greater number of Coatesville people believed in signs and certain superstitions.  When someone in a family died the clock was often stopped on the death hour and the family looking glass turned over.  Elza Greenlee used to tell how Grandfather Mendenhall after a death in the family, would pin a piece of black ribbon to each beehive and tell the bees who had passed on.  This kept the bees from deserting their hives.

            Meat hogs were butchered when the family almanac showed the sign to be right and the cook was assured the meat would not curl up in the skillet when fried.

            No household could do a good job of gardening or farming without an almanac that showed the signs of the zodiac and told one to sow clover seed at the dark of the moon in march; to wean the calf when the sign was below the heart else it would bawl itself to death; to wean babies when the sign was going down for if weaned with the sign in the head the baby would have a runny nose for months.

            Farmers planted crops by the moon and laid fence chucks at certain times.  If aid in the wrong phase of the moon the chunks sank in the ground and soon rotted.  To kill the willows that lined a creek one cut of peeled them when the sign was in the heart during the month of August.  Women folks planted their squash and cucumber seed when the sign was in the "Twins" to assure themselves a bountiful crop.

            It was considered bad luck to walk under a ladder or raise an umbrella in a house.  It was considered an ill omen for a bird to fly into anyone's house.  If one killed a toad just to be killing then their milk cow was expected to give bloody milk.  To handle toads would likely cause warts on ones hands and if this happened one could tie a string about the wart and after a time hide or burn the string and the wart would disappear.

            Families did little doctoring in early days with a physician.  If they were obliged to see one for an aching tooth or tonsillitis they never found his office crowded.  The early doctor brought the new baby to the home, patched a mutilated hand or foot, pulled teeth and did most anything required that now belongs to a specialist and a well equipped hospital.  The doctor's means of transportation was a good horse and cart or horse and saddle for roads were notoriously bad at the time of Spring thaws.

            Mothers doctored croupy children at night by having them take a teaspoonful of sugar covered with several drops of coal oil.  Sometimes a tea made of red pepper pods and sweetened was given for croup and sore throat.

            Cuckle burs boiled, and the water strained off and made sweet and thick with strained honey was a concoction used to relieve severe coughs.

            A patient down with pneumonia could be cured at times by having a big hot onion poultice placed over his chest.

            Turpentine and lard smeared over one's throat and chest was another remedy for a tight chest and sore throat.

            When splinters or rusty nails had been extracted from one's hand or foot a slice of fat pork was applied over the wound and kept on for hours to "draw out" the poison or turpentine was poured in.

            A burned hand or foot was held as close as possible to a bed of coals to draw out the fire in the injured member and in no time the wound was well.  This was a sure cure.

            A cure for colds, sore throat and kindred ailments could be cured by whiskey and rock candy.  There were scores of men in the early days that relied on this medicine as a cure all for anything from baldness to broken arches.

            In Spring when children's blood might be thin they were dosed with sulfur mixed in sorghum molasses.

            Many of the open wells that were dug about town and furnished the drinking and wash water for the family for families was often a "witched " well.  Some man who possessed certain "powers" had a forked stick cut from a witch hazel bush or a peach tree and he gripped this, one fork in each hand, the palms turned out and the end of the fork straight up and carried this in front of himself about where a well was desired.  If this fork turned in the carrier's hands (and almost tore the bark loose) until the end pointed down a stake was driven here to mark where the well would be dug.  Well-diggers came with spades, shovels, big buckets and a rope and windlass, for the last named was needed for bringing up both dirt and man when the well got deeper than one's height.  A man by the name of Nick Roach and his son were expert hands at digging wells in this and the Reno community.

            Many of the early women had an ash hopper somewhere in the back yard or garden and used the lye extracted from the wood ashes heaped in it to make enough lye soap to do them for clothes washing the greater part of the year.  There was probably a specified time or phase of the moon observed in this.

 

COATESVILLE BASEBALL

 

            The heyday of baseball for grownup boys and men has likely passed from this town.  In the far off days a few players whose names are still recalled were "Pud" Lineberry who was a catcher and caught bare-handed and without mask or protector.  Then there was Bobby Stewart, Al McClure, "Web" Lisby and "Juicy" Matthews.  Some 50 or 60 years ago there was a ball team in Coatesville known as the "Coatesville Bluz".  Bill McAninch was the manager.  He secured games with all the town teams of note for miles around the these games were fiercely contested by players and spectators alike.  Two early pitchers who come to mind were Dillard Sands, from near Roachdale and "Yaller Neck" Arnold who hailed from Stilesville.  He was hardly good enough for the Indianapolis Indians but was too good for most of the opposing players who tried to hit his curves.  A first class catcher in those exciting days was "Marky-Day" Warren who often caught for semi-pro teams out of Indianapolis.

            A big first basemen long to be remembered was Bill Baily.  He was a player with a long reach and was a long range hitter.  Poor old bill was killed in a truck-car crash South of town one Sunday.  An old time player who could hit the ball into the far corners was "Biler" McClure.  Joe Sullivan was a good player here for several seasons as was big "Dim" Pruitt who seldom fanned.  John J. (Cheese) Gambold once wore a Chizzletown uniform and played his position well.

            At a later time "Robby" Fellers came to town and was a good pitcher.  Some good players who teamed with him was Charley Stewart one of the cleverest pitchers the old town ever produced.  Others were Junior Walton, Raymond Stewart and "Wid" Walton.  Harvey Hessler played a lot of ball, usually at short and was a fast man on the bases for he held the county record for the 100 yard dash.  Other good players were "Jug" Sewart, a clever catcher, "Buck" Phillips, Frank Davidson, his brother Joe, a pitcher Atlas Stewart, and two lads who sometimes came over from Stilesville, Jess Measle and "Froggie" Odell.  Frank O'Neal was a pitcher and fielder and a scrapping player was "breaky" McAninch.

            Hessler once organized a team of high school and college boys and before they started their game Hessler used to pep them up by saying, "Boys, let's show them fellers how the boar hog et the cabbage." and they seldom disappointed him.

 

BASKET BALL OF YEARS AGO

 

            Basket Ball started outdoor in our local schools about 1908 and has changed radically in the past few years.  When local school lads played the game a jump between the two center men took place after every basket made or after a successful foul shot.  This made a slow game and even with two high scoring teams playing each other the scores would hardly ever exceed a 32-27.  More often the score read 16-11.  To the present day ball handler this is laughable but not "back when".

 

            It is not the purpose in this short account to try and name every boy from Coatesville who played first class basketball but to name a few who were outstanding a long time ago.  Among these were "Tubby" Draper, Ardith Phillips, Noble Masten, Harry Gilbert, Dick Walton, Happy Rollings, Jack Green, Tom McCammack and others.

            In early days, one referee was a plenty.  He was paid from two to five dollars a game and he usually let the boys "play ball" for that was what a crowd wanted to see.  It was no common thing for two players on one team to literally ride and hound an out-standing hot shot on the opposing team and never be fouled.  As some one once said in describing the game of 50 years ago, "One player had to be guilty of mayhem against his opponent to warrant a foul."  At that early date one man on each team pitched all the fouls.

            The greatest menace to any team that played in the old days was the "home referee" who fouled the position but seldom the home boys.

 

CLUBS AND LODGES

 

Present Day Club

 

            Practically every town of four hundred and upward has a club of some kind or clubs.  This town has had and still has clubs.

            The first one, known as the Present Day Club was organized by Mrs. Ella Gambold in 1910.  Those who first joined this organization were the founder, Mrs. Gambold, Ella Short, Buelah Knight, Daisy Knight, Della Bridges, Mamie Campbell, Flora Hodson, Mabel Johnson, Lella Gambold, Grace Brown, Icy Gobert and Nona Davis.

            Members who were later asked to join the club were Maude Lakin, Rose Draper, Lennie Stanley and Ora Hunt.

 

Womans Literary Club

 

A year after the start of the Present Day Club Mrs. George Hughes organized the Womans Literary Club in 1911.  The Coatesville ladies who were charter members of this club were Mary Sharp, Ruth Elrod, Lena Phillips, Emma Masten, Eva Lineberry, Nell Doty, Cora Brown, Alice Lisby, Edith Ryner and Alma Phillips.

 

Friday Club

 

            The Friday Club was organized in 1913 by Mrs. Lona Larkin and Mrs. John Stewart.  some of the charter members were Opal Harvey, Icy Gobert, Mrs. Larkin, Mrs. Stewart, Mamie Campbell, Flora Hodson and Mrs. M.F. Bennett.  This club had at its beginning a Bible Study Leader and this was Mrs. Bennett.  There were few such teachers of Bible as she in the County.

 

Tuesday Club

 

            This is one of the older clubs, started about 1911 and known first as the Thimble Club.  It was re-named later the Tuesday Club as this was the day chosen for its meetings.  The Club has enjoyed a large membership from early days to the present time. (Strangely enough in the year 2000 this club is still active.  The continue to meet once a month... on Tuesday and have a charity for which they raise funds each year.)  The membership has included Lucille Masten, Laura Biehal, Ida Masten, Cora Masten, Mabel Johnson, Callie Casady, Mary Collier, June Hadley, Vivian Hadley, Dorothy Jenkins, Pearl Bowen, Wanda Wallace and Mary Lou Lydick.

            Each year the members enjoy an Anniversary luncheon together at some nice place and this is usually in April.

 

COATESVILLE BAND

 

A history of Coatesville would hardly be complete without a word about the band that was---many years ago.  During the Summer months the band gave Saturday night concerts.  Crowds of farm folks came to town with their families, enjoyed the band music, exchanged gossip, did their trading at the stores from ten o'clock until midnight and then drove home in buggies and surreys, mostly.

            Young men and women that dated walked together about the bandstand, strolled the streets and laughed and talked until the stores closed.

            Few folks today remember the band members of yesteryear.  With the help of Harmon Hathaway and Mrs. Fern Cline the following names have been garnered:  Harvey Hessler, Frank O'Neal, Clay Phillips, Ed. Mark, Verl Wiseheart, Paul Hope and Newt Kersey.  There are others perhaps but memory does not bring them back.

            This local band not only gave the home concerts but played for horse shows at Roachdale, Monrovia and other nearby towns.  They were in demand for July 4th celebrations and political gatherings.

            One time when they were marching around the Circle in Indianapolis some wag read the name "Coatesville" on the base drum and yelled: "Where'n the hell's Coatesville?"

            Bill McAninch answered him:  "It's a mile south of Reno."  This was a standing band joke among the band boys for many a day.

 

KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS

 

            This order generally known as the K of P's had a lodge for several years in town and the room occupied by the order was in the upper room of a hardware store owned and managed by Allen Job.  The building was on the North side of Main St. about where the Helpy-Selfy is today. (The Helpy-Selfy closed in the mid 1970's and was three doors west of the stop light in the center of Coatesville on the north side of the street.  In the year 2000 it is an apartment building.)

            Some of the members who wore the pins of this lodge were Joe Sharp, Beeson Newman, Allen Job, W. Dobson, Elza Greenlee, Thighlman Crews and Dan McAninch.

 

ODD FELLOWS

 

            The lodge room of the Odd Fellows was upstairs over the Draper & Bryant store on the present site of the printing shop.

            Some of the members, and there were many, were : Virgil Davis, Chauncy Knight, John Harris, Dr. C.F. Hope, James Davidson, Walter Grooms, Otto Lakin, Sammy Goodwin, Charles Gambold, Mark Warren, Charles Wiseheart, Beeson Newman, John Hodson, Bill Campbell, John Masten, Greely Bryant, Ord Rice and Amos Fultz.

 

ORDER OF REBECCAS

 

            Some of the ladies having membership in the Rebeccas were, Mrs.Greeley Bryant, Maude Lakin, Emma Masten, Daisy Knight, Nona Davis, Vicy Harris, Flora Bowen, Mrs. Billy Davis, Carrie and Ella Fultz.

            When the Order disbanded many belonging went to the Fillmore Lodge.

 

MODERN WOODMEN OF AMERICA

 

            This Insurance as well as secret organization was started about 1909 or 10.  The Lodge room was South of the railroad in a room that once was a second story to Kivetts building next the lumber office.  A few members brought to mind from that long ago were John Greenlee, Luther Casady, Wheeler Casady, Vern Elrod, Claude Elrod, Joe Davidson, Guy Masten and Claude Morgan.

 

MASONIC ORDER

 

            For quite awhile the town had Masonic members but had no Lodge rooms and as a consequence the members drove to Fillmore where there was a strong membership.  About 1914-15 a decision was made to organize a Mason's Lodge here.  Among the early members of the new Lodge were the following:  Greely Bryant, John Masten, Allen Campbell, Ollie Larkin, James Davidson, Chauncy Knight, Win Bridges, Arthur McClure, John B. Newman, John N. Wise,  Wendell Elrod, Joe Sharp, George Hughes, Josephus Gambold, Newt Lakin, Otto Lakin, Charles Gambold, John Gross, Otto Masten and Olney Phillips.

The Lodge room was the upstairs' room of the old school building that stood back of where Mr. Glenn Wellman now resides. 

 

ORDER OF EASTERN STAR

 

            Coatesville Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star No. 558 was organized in June 1939 with 30 Charter members:

 

Helen Alexander                                   Grace Gambold

Lou Bryant                   Laura Biehl       Florence Harper

Anna Christy                                        Oval Harper

Fern Cline                                            Geneva Herod

Herschel Cline                                      Paul Herod

Dexter Darnall                                      Charles Hodson

Lillian Darnall                                        Margaret Hodson

Oakie Darnall                                       Daisy Knight

Woodson Darnall                                 Elsie Masten

Geneva Dillon                                       Emma Masten

Max Dillon                                           Flora Masten

Agnes Eastham                         Otto Masten

Ruth Ann Elrod                         William McAninch

Lucylle Fuson                                       Clara McCammack

                                    Christine Stanley

 

The first corps of officers were:

 

Lillian Darnall                            Worthy Matron

Woodson Darnall                     Worthy Patron

Florence Harper                       Associate Matron

Orval Harper                            Associate Patron

Secretary                                  Grace Gambold

Treasurer                                  Anna Christy

Conductress                             Daisy Knight

Associate Conductress Christine Stanley

Chaplain                                   Lou Bryant

Marshall                                   Elsie Masten

Organist                                   Geneva Dillon

Adah                                        Ruth Ann Elrod

Ester                                        Margaret Hodson

Martha                                     Laura Biehl

Electa                                       Geneva Herod

Warder                                                Clara McCammack

Sentinel                                    Otto Masten

 

The Chapter now has 220 member.  The first meeting in the new hall after the 1948 tornado was held Oct. 11th, 1950.

                        (The Star closed it's doors and has given up it's charter in the late 1990's (1997?).    Most members were transferred to Plainfield, IN.)

 

COMMERCIAL CLUB

 

            Mention should be made of the Coatesville Commercial Club that was organized about 1912 and to which most all the town's business men belonged.  These enterprising men brought to the town a number of excellent speakers for Sunday afternoon addresses and the Club was responsible for organizing and building the Coatesville Public Library.  Much honor is due these members.

 

TOWN BROTHERHOOD

 

The Brotherhood began several years ago as a Methodist organization, the purpose being to bring the church men together once a month for singing, pleasant talk and listening to some well ordered talk.  A few early presidents were Harold Powell, Joe Davidson and Bill Biehl.

            At a later time the Brotherhood ceased being a Methodist men's meeting but opened the doors to any public spirited man in town who wished to join.  In purpose it became more nearly a service club for each year it provides a Christmas tree for all the children of the town and gives each child a treat.  Later presidents have been Lewis Hadley, Paul Herod and Irvine Bennett.  Speakers who have talked to the Brotherhood at different times have been Mr. Hobbs of Bridgeprot, the President of Butler, the president of DePauw, Joe Davidson and a jeweler from Greencastle who talked about diamonds.

 

            The year 1914 saw the organization of a young men's club known as the Beta Delta Sigma club.  The ones at the helm of this affair were Guy Masten and Joe Davidson.  The last named give the name to the club, drew a design of a brotherhood pin to be worn and sent the design to a company at North Attleboro, Massachusetts.  When the pin came back there was a unanimous call for more pins.  The pin was the shape of a triangle, and had a raised, black enameled center in which the Greek letters Beta Delta Sigma were imbedded and in gold.  Entirely around the triangle was a row of pearls.

 

            The members had a particular handshake in their greeting of one another.

            The club room was in the old school building.  The room was re-floored, the walls decorated and college and high school girls furnished school pennants to brighten the walls.  About once a month through the winter a dance was held, each member inviting his steady or some girl he knew who liked to dance.  These dances lasted until twelve O'clock, were always chaperoned and was dress-up affairs.  Girls came from Clayton, Stilesville, Greencastle, and occasionally one or two from Indianapolis and Terre Haute.  Music was furnished by two colored boys from Greencastle, and one pianist, the other a trap-drummer.

 

            Those belonging to this club were Emmett Bourne, Guy Masten, Joe Davidson, Frank O'Neal, Frank Hope, Bill McAninch, Joe Steers, Melville McHaffie and Wallace Brown.

            Many elderly folks and church members considered these club members a bunch of young blades who did not know how to properly spend their money.

 

PRESENT BUSINESS PLACES

 

            If one begins on West Main street he must recognize the Woody Darnall elevator along side the Pennsylvania tracks.  This has been a growing concern both in building construction and in volume of business done.  It is a tremendous economic asset to the town.  (Although the elevator is still there in the year 2000, the railroad tracks aren't.  Who'd a thunk it??  The elevator was bought by a corporation in the 1980's and is mainly used for grain acquisition and storage.  Nothing is sold there now, except for a few soft drinks from the machine.)

            A few rods East and the Farm Supply under the ownership and management of Arthur Biehl and Bill Jamison gives the town a business like look.  Here the farmers for miles around come to purchase all types of farm machinery and to have repairs made.  (The Farm Supply closed in the mid 1970's.  It was a vacant building for several years before Russell Neier moved his trucking business, Neier Bros. into the building in the 1990's.)

            Raymond Rollings and Jim, his son have a shop on the alley where the retail TV sets, refrigerators, freezers and do much expert electrical repair work.  (Jim Rollings inherited the business from his father.  Jim passed away in the late 1970's and closed the TV shop.  In the year 2000 it is an apartment.)

            The Post Office with it's force working for Uncle Sam is next and the man in charge is Mark Hadley.  (Still there.  Ms. Patty Cummings is the current post mistress.)

            Dr. Ellett's office and apartments is next.  This building is new and well kept.  Equipment in the office is up to the minute.  Dr. Ellett is both a doctor of medicine and a good surgeon on his own.  Few physicians have so good help as one meets in this office.  (Dr. Robert Heavin, a home town boy, bought Dr. Ellett's office.  The "up-to-date " equipment that Joe referred to is still in the office, but of course now it's antiquated.  Dr. Heavin took over his practice from Dr. Vieira, a Brazillian Dr. who had taken over the practice from Dr. Ellett.  Dr. Ellett remains on the board of the Putnam County Hospital in Greencastle in the year 2000)

            On the corner of Main and Milton is the Hathaway printing establishment that is treated alone in the brief history of Coatesville. 

            Across the Main Street North side is the First national Bank to be treated as a separate unit.  (Building now occupied by the Town Of Coatesville's office.  Formerly Davis Floral.)

West, and next door is the Weaver Furniture Store and Mortuary.  Mr. Weaver is a friendly and clever business man from Danville and is giving to Coatesville the goods and services found in large cities.  His head man, Junior Wingler is the right man for the place, so think the local people.  (Mr. Weaver sold the funeral home/ furniture store to Junior Wingler in the late 1960's and Mr. Wingler sold the funeral home/ furniture store to Mr. Dan Hayes in the late 1980's who retains ownership in the year 2000.) 

            The next place of business is the Helpy-Selfy Laundry.  It is owned and managed by Bert Wallace and wife, both local people, both well known to most folk who come to town.  They have a nice business place and a good business. ( The Helpy-Selfy closed in the late 1970's.  In the early 1980's it was purchased by Phil and Jerry Lynn Wingler and opened as a smaller laundry called the Wash House and Wingler & Son's electrical contracting business and electrical supply store.  It burned in 1986 closing the business.  It was purchased by Junior Wingler who re-built it into apartments and storage for his business.  It is currently owned by Dan Hayes.)

            The Kelly Grocery and restaurant are somewhat new to Coatesville.  Man and wife are congenial people who appreciate folks trade and at present are well patronized.  If one undertook to criticize their restaurant this criticism would have to be that one got too much good food rather than too little. (Kelly's sold out in the late 1970's and Art Evans put a commercial lawnmower outlet in this store.  That was closed in the late 1980's.  This building is currently unoccupied.)

            At the Corner of Main and Milton on the Northeast side is the Standard Oil Station and the Bill Stanton Garage.  Bill is friendly and accommodating man, carries accessories to fit the general need and is a first class mechanic.  (The filling station closed in the early 1980's and is currently unoccupied.)

            North of the Garage is a Supply Building for the Town's electric needs.  Beyond this is the Irvine Benett Insurance Agency.  "Dan" as he is familiarly called handles a good line of insurance and does a good business helping citizens for miles around with their income tax returns.  (This building is currently the "Home Again Restaurant".)

            South on Milton and on the East side is the Brown Drugstore.  Both Herbert and Edna are jolly people who look over the business a few years ago and have made it a good place to trade.  (This building is now "The Brick" restaurant, operated by Steve and Sharon Trump.)

            Across the tracks is the Everett Pyle grocery and meat market.  One would have to go to a progressive city to find a store so well stocked, air conditioned and clean as this place of business.  (The grocery store is currently owned by David Brown who's parents are mentioned above, owning the Brown Drugstore.  Mr. Brown has recently purchased the grocery store and video rental facility.  There is also a lunch counter in the building.)

            The Walter's Filling Station is a neat structure with ample room inside for car washing and repair work.  Jim is a crippled man but gets things done rapidly and well.  His charges are always reasonable. (Mr. Walters died in the late 1970's and Everett Smith purchased the building and pumped gas until the mid 1990's.  Gasoline is no longer for sale in Coatesville.  Mr. Smith still does car repair.)

            On the opposite side of the street is the Collier Lumber Company office and carpenter shop and beyond is the spreading lumber shed.  They take contracts to build whatever one needs.  (The lumber company closed in the late 1960's and was for a time a restaurant.  The building has been for sale since the late 1980's and is currently empty.)

            The business house nearer the tracks is the tin and plumbing shop of Wayne Kivett.  Wayne is a minister but will minister to the needs of a balky pump.  (Wayne is a retire Methodist minister who is still plumbing at age 78.  His wife Christina is still helping in the "shop" at age 80.)

            The Pennsylvania Depot stands beside the track and does little else these days.  (The Depot was torn down in the early 1970's.  The railroad is also gone, and the remaining lot was turned into a town parking lot.)

            Northeast of town is the Bryant-Poff Company that do a big business in making mill and elevator parts.  Goods from the Plant are hauled into several surrounding States.  (Bryant-Poff closed in the mid 1970's.  The plant is now a manufacturer of zero turning radius lawn mowers.)

            Maurice (Tubby) Wingler is the Standard Oil Co. representative here and his big truck goes day or night, winter and Summer to carry gas and oil to both town and country.  Tubby is a jovial boy who believes "You expect more from Standard and you get it."  (Tubby Wingler passed away in 1997 after a long bout with heart disease.  This jovial "boy" had 5 children, 11 grand-children and 3 great grand children.  He ran the agency for over 30 years and sold to Gary Brannigan of Greencasle who currently owns the bulk plant in Coatesville and operates from Greencastle.  Tubby was my father-in-law, whom I dearly loved.)

            Faye Robinson on North Milton has a carpenter's shop and in spare time he repairs and refinishes furniture of many kinds.  If one wishes a cabinet built to his own specifications Faye will do this and the job will be well done.  (Faye Robinson died in the late 1960's  His furniture shop tools were sold at auction.)

            South of town "Buck" Arnold has a farm from which he supplies fill dirt to any one needing it.  He is the owner and operator of an excavating machine and will dig ditches, take care of septic tanks, excavate for new homes or business places, dig graves in neighboring cemeteries whenever the occasion demands it and possibly do some trucking.  (Buck Arnold no longer does excavating.  He is retired.)

            Coatesville has a Telephone Exchange on South Milton and at the rear a beautiful new building is in process of construction.  ( The old building was demolished and the new building stands today.  It is fully automated and requires no daily human maintenance.)

            Reatha's Beauty Shop is located in her home on Hadley Street, East of the Methodist parsonage.  Reatha is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Bowen.  Several years ago she decided on beauty culture as a profession and has succeeded over the span of years to carry out her plan.  She operates a splendid shop and is well patronized by town folks and from the surrounding community.  (Mrs. Stiegel, Reatha, passed in the 1980's.  Her husband Willard is president of the Coatesville Town Board, and still lives in the house that held her beauty shop.)

            Mrs. Jimmy Poff operates a beauty parlor in her new home on Von Tress Street.  She was well known among the young folks of the town when a high school and has a wider acquaintance since her marriage and opening a shop. 

            Each shop has its own clientele of the matronly folk or the younger class. (Shirley White Poff's beauty shop has been closed since the late 1980's.  It is a private residence.)

            In a white, block building South of the Filling Station on Milton Street, Roy Hodson opened several years ago a Man's Furnishing Store.  Roy had been an expert barber and while in that business with his father he had taken up the Men's clothing project.

            His store was well stocked with men's everyday wearing apparel, work and dress shoes, rubber boots, overshoes shirts, ties, and various other sundries needed by men folk.  He measured and fitted band uniforms for the local high school members.

            Roy always had the daily and county papers, a good fire in winter and chairs for both customer and loafer.  His store was a good place to talk politics, discuss town topics or discuss the shrinkage of the dollar.  All good things come to an end.  Roy's sickness and death ended all.  Perhaps this was the last such store Coatesville will ever know.

 

(Joe was right.  Since the death of Roy Hodson the white block building has never been a man's store.  The building had no plumbing or central heat.  It was purchased by Everett Smith who owns the garage next door and he operated a pool room in it for a short while.  There has never been another clothing store in Coatesville and I would also predict that there will never be another such store.)

 

 

COATESVILLE LIBRARY

 

At a meeting of the Coatesville Commercial Club on January 11, 1912 the question of organizing a public library was discussed.  After an invitation, a staff member of the Public Library Commission came and explained the necessary steps to be taken to get a library.

            Mr. H.E. Hathaway, President of the Commercial Club appointed a committee to start things off and the members were as follows:  Mrs. Charles Gambold, Mrs. Mary Sharp and Mr. Guy Masten.

            After meeting all requirements of the law to establish a library, trustees were appointed.  This first library board was made up of Frank Brown, George Hughes, Allen Campbell, W.T. Beck, Mrs. Charles Gambold, Mrs. Margy Sharp and Mrs. Beulah Knight.

            The Coatesville Library with its donation of books from town and community started with 454 books and fifteen dollars in cash donations.  Miss Rose M. Crews was elected librarian.  The books were housed in a room that was once above the bank.  The library was open on Tuesday and Saturday and the librarian's pay was a dollar a week.

            The first real home of the library was an upper room in the school building recently razed.  This decision was made; give as much help as possible to school boys and girls, teachers and to Club members.

            Soon after the library started a small tax was levied to stock the shelves with good reading material.  The motto was, "Quality, not quantity".

            In 1913 a branch library was set up at Amo.  In this same year application was made for a Carnegie Fund and this was eventually granted.

            By June 1916 the town boasted of a new library building erected on the old "Bundy Lot".  The construction of the building was carried out by the Masten Lumber Company and a good job it was on.  At a later date the board was to consist of the following members:  Frank Brown, W.E. Greenlee, Otis Wheeler, Mrs. Della Bridges, Mrs. Frances Mark,  Mrs. V.J. Fuson and Mr. Merle Masten.

It should be said that Frank Brown was a most devoted friend to the library and served it until ill health made it impossible for him to attend meetings.

            The present board is made up of Mable Davidson, President Louise Phillips, Vice Pres. and Chairman of the book committee, John Gambold Secretary, Ruth Owens Asst. Sec. and John Bombei, Treasurer.

            It should be stated also that in the 1948 tornado the Carnegie Library was entirely destroyed and had to be replaced by the present structure.

            Some of the librarians who have helped in serving books to the reading public were Mrs. Beulah Knight, Miss Geneva Bryant, Mrs. Haines, Olive Bourne and Mrs. Geneva (Bryant) Herod the present librarian.  (Followed by Madge Dean, Ruth Fuson and Cheryl Stienborn... who is currently the librarian.)

 

FIRST NATIONAL BANK

 

            The predecessor of the First National Bank of Coatesville, Indiana was a private organization known as the Coatesville Bank, started in 1902.  W.T. Beck was president and James Reed the cashier.  The bank changed to the present National Bank in August of 1906 under the same officers.  Mr. Reed was succeeded by Mr. C.D. Knight in 1908 with Mr. Beck remaining as president, until 1941.  Mr. Paul Darnall succeeded Mr. Beck but upon Paul's sudden death in 1944 C.D. Knight became president and held the position until his retirement in 1958.  At that time John J. Gambold was chosen president by the bank directors and held the position until his death a few months ago.  The Bank is now under the leadership of a well known local young man in the person of B.E. Lydick.  It was the opinion of the board that Mr. Lydick had all the qualifications necessary for a successful bank president and patrons of the bank feel that "Bill" is the logical man for the place.

            In 1913 the First National Bank was a splendid little bank that like other banks around it did all its work the hard way.  Now, bank machines have eliminated all the old fashioned ways and made banking work, scientific work.

            During the "Depression" of 1939-41 the First National had a top rating and did business as usual each and every day while the country over hundreds of larger institutions were closing their doors.

            Officers of the First National Bank to date are: B.E. Lyick, President: Arthur Masten, Vice ; C.H. Phillips, Cashier; Dorothy Jenkins, Asst. Cashier.

           

            The Directors of the Bank are. B.E. Lydick, Arthur Masten, Herschel Cline, Lewis Hadley, Woodson A. Darnall, Marion Cline and Mark Hadley.

 

            The assets of this local Bank have climbed from a few thousand dollars in 1902 to over four million dollars at the present time.

(The first National Bank of Coatesville, was bought by the Danville State Bank, which was bought by National City Bank of Indianapolis.  The branch was closed in the mid 1990's and the building was purchased by the First National Bank of Cloverdale which opened a branch there in the late 1990's.)

 

COATESVILLE NEWSPAPERS

 

            One of the earliest newspapers that elderly town people remember was one started about 1890 by a man named Rose.  He and his wife and son lived here for perhaps three years when he suddenly decided to move on.  His paper was taken over by three well known men in the community: Charles Sanders, a preacher and school teacher, Charles Gambold, a hustling young man, and Nathan Fisher.  Their paper was in circulation prior to 1895.  It ran its course however in a few years.

 

            The next man interested in a paper for Coatesville and community was a fellow named Jacob Wolf.  After a start of a few months a Mr. Hathaway and his family came to town and took over the printing business.  Mr. Hathaway had reason to succeed for he had years of practical experience in the trade elsewhere.  "The Coatesville Herald" was started and moved into a new office erected by the Masten Lumber Company on an alley where part of the Farm Supply building is today.  After the senior Hathaway retired his son Harmon took over and published one of the outstanding newspapers of Hendricks County.

           

            The publications ceased around two years ago, about 1963.  There was almost "Weeping and wailing" when the Herald ceased.  It had become a Coatesville institution.

            Mr. Hathaway has his office at the corner of Main and Milton and each week publishes the "Advertiser" and does much job printing.

            (As noted previously, the "Advertiser" is still published once a week by Mrs. Avis Zoder who's husband Charles Zoder bought the shop from Harmon Hathaway in the mid 1980's.  Mr. Zoder passed away last year and Mrs. Zoder still operates the print shop.  The paper is no longer printed in the print shop, but Mrs. Zoder still does some printing for hire.)

 

HEADLINE HAPPENINGS OF OTHER DAYS

 

CROSSING ACCIDENT

            One Autumn day more than 50 years ago two ladies and a small baby came by horse and buggy from the Broad park neighborhood to Coatesville to trade.  Their conveyance was hit by a West bound fast train at the Pennsylvania crossing and the bodies of the two women were tossed sixty to a hundred feet and they landed on the South side of the track Both were dead when reached by those who sought to aid them.  The baby was badly hurt but was still alive.  It was carried to Dr. Hope's office who gave it first aid and his wife Leva Hope in the many weeks that followed cared for the little fellow and nursed him back     to health.  Both Doctor and Leva shed tears when the child was taken home.

 

THE DAY OF THE ARMISTICE

Bells and whistles started ringing and blowing and now and then was heard the boom of an anvil firing in nearby towns and then this town started its own noise and celebration.  Nearly every soul marched over the streets laughing, shouting, crying and singing.  The Kaiser had been defeated and the Great War I had come to an end.  The boys "Over There" would come home.  What a happy thought!  In the center of town all citizens gathered and no one grew tired of the speeches that were made.  Many of those who spoke advocated giving the Kaiser a "fair trial" and then hanging him.  This called for resounding cheers.

 

FIRST AIRPLANE IN TOWN

            Landed on the E.R. Ellis farm on West Main Street.  Every man, woman and youngster who could walk or run headed for the pasture to see this wonder of wonders.  The pilot let folks walk about the machine and answered the questions asked about it.  He then asked who cared to take a ten minute ride for five dollars and several brave people took to the air.  John Greenlee, a carpenter was among the first to go up and he was relating long afterward his thrilling experience and how Coatesville looked from a thousand feet elevation.

 

THE INTERURBAN CAME TO TOWN

            It was a big day and a great week when cars started running between Indianapolis and Terre Haute.  Every boy and girl who could scare up a few cents bought a ticket to Amo or Fillmore to say they had taken a street car ride.  The ride from Amo to Coatesville was really thrilling as the car rolled and bounced down the grade through Critenden Hollow, over the bridge and then coasted into the home station.

 

THE AFTERNOON WRECK

The afternoon local freight had gone East and no more than fifteen minutes later great clouds of black smoke            billowed up over Amo.  Coatesville men and boys stood in zero weather on the railroad crossing and gazed East and tried to explain the phenomenon they were witnessing.  One said the elevator was burning, another that the lumber sheds were on fire.  The fact was that the "local" had split a switch at the East edge of town and three or four cars of oil were wrecked and on fire.

            Amo people somehow got the word that an explosion was liable any minute that would shake the town to its foundations and then burn the wreckage.

            Citizens left their homes and headed North; there seemed to be a better road and more room in that direction.  There was no explosion and the scare subsided and folks returned home.  When one fellow was asked later if he were guilty of running his answer was, "No", but said he, "I passed several who were".

 

JIMMY BOURNE

            About the year 1897 a handsome young man by the name of James Bourne lived on West Main Street.  He had a love affair with a girl on East Main who's home was near that of             where Andy Underwood now dwells.  (2 doors east of the NAPA Store on East Main St.on the South side of the street.)  "Jimmy" as he was called about town went to see this girl, Anna Awbrey one Sunday evening and on leaving her home he shot himself at the yard gate.  Jimmy's folks had seriously interfered with his affair so he ended all disputes.

 

THE HORSE SHOES IN THE SIDEWALK

            If the pedestrian will notice as he walks South from Wayne Kivett's door he will see some horse shoes embedded in the concrete sidewalk.  These shoes were made and put there by blacksmith Fred Stewart.  They were the duplicates of those made for Mr. McHaffie's noted race horse "W.W.J."  They have been in the walk some 50 or more years.

 

CHEEVER DAVIS

            Cheever Davis was a gay young blade of 22 who acted as engineer at his father's flour mill, he had many friends among those his own age, and one and all had formed a dangerous habit.  They rode trains.  A number of these young fellows went to Indianapolis to a show, the story goes, and decided to catch a freight ride back to Coatesville.  In his attempt to catch a speeding car's side ladder he was killed.  The accident happened on a Sunday about the year 1895.  His untimely death was the talk of town folks and surrounding community residents for weeks afterward.

 

 

FIRST AUTO

            The first automobile to be owned in town belonged to Matthew Masten.  Guy (Masten) did the driving.  If memory is correct on this car it was a two cylinder Auburn and was equipped with a chain drive.  It's top speed was perhaps around 35 miles per hour.  When on trips with it one dared not choose a road that had any long or short steep hills for it lacked the power to climb them.  A car salesman was in town one day and when some one asked him what he thought of a four cylinder car that was talked of his reply was, "There is trouble enough with two cylinders, so why should one want to be plagued with four?"

 

THE TOWN JAIL

            Many of the men and women of today's town do not know that Coatesville once had a white, concrete, "Calaboose" on the south side of the Pennsylvania tracks near the elevator.  It was built to hold a Jesse James or one of the FBI's most wanted men.

            There was a time in the town's history when "Speezer" Crews was town Marshal and one Saturday evening he arrested Bill Bundy and put him in the lock-up.  somehow Speezer forgot all about Bill until sometime on Monday and he meandered up to the jail to see if Bill had "sobered up."  Bill had.  He had gone without food and without water all those hours.  When he explained in picturesque language what he thought of such treatment Speezer reminded him, "I didn't put you in here Bill to fatten ye!"

 

A STAR IN THEIR CROWN

 

            Perhaps a few persons should be named who for one reason or another have been a servant and a blessing to the town.  Mention should be made of Minnie Hunt, wife of Dr. Stephen Hunt and of Aunt Molly Gambold who gladly gave years of service to the Methodist Church and labored for the moral uplift of their home town.  Along with them should be named a good, old time teacher of men's Sunday School Class.  This individual was Berry Swain.

            In the Christian Church was Mrs. Burke, the wife of Uncle Jack.  No church dinner was held that she did not do more than her part to make it a success.  She was a kind, Christian person.

            A preacher came a few years ago to the Christian Church whose name will not be forgotten in a long, long while.  This man was Jack Nichols.  He was a shrewd, witty preachers, a friend maker among all classes and a man who had a way with teen age boys.  He organized them in baseball teams and taught both the game and clean living.  It was a bad day for Coatesville boys when Jack went to other pastures.

            A doctor had his office upstairs over the bank for several years and was known for a number of things.  He kept most things to himself; he drove a balky ford that no skilled mechanic could quite cure; he loved to cook and try out with anyone bold enough all types of games from land and water.  He loved mud turtle, raccoon or whatever some friend brought to him; he was forever and sincerely dedicated to give his medical know-how to his fellow-man.  Somehow, money was never his consideration but the man woman or child's comfort and cure were.  He thought nothing of sitting all night long at the bedside of a desperately sick patient and after weeks spent in getting him cured charge him but a trifle especially if the patient were in dire need.  The whole town mourned when Dr. Elvora Wright passed away.

            James Davidson was a versatile man.  He had that faculty of being able to do many things and doing them well.  Town, Church and individuals soon learned to go to him for help.  He drew up a plot for a cemetery, he figured the cost of building a mile or so of road for a contractor, he showed a Church how to meet their debts and helped to put electric lights into Coatesville business places and homes.  Any school boy or girl who had a problem in circular measure or cube root he could not solve he went to Jim.  It come to be that town, church, lodge or individual went to Jim for consultation when they found a problem too difficult.  They figured that Jim could handle it and he did.

            John J. Gambold was the town's busy business man whose activities covered a half century.  He went by a number of nick-names to those who had worked beside him and knew him best.  He was called "Gamy"  "Cheese"  "The Dutchman"   "Jack" and John Jacob.

            He had literally hundreds of friends and acquaintances who ranged from the paper boy and section hand to the Presidents of Indianapolis Banks and wholesale establishments.

            Jack was a successful owner of a grocery and meat market.  he was a stock holder in the local bank and was its President at his death.  He believed there was much good in Scouting and for several years collected money and attended Scout meetings.  He loved the church and Sunday School and felt that the latter had been a great influence in his early life and felt it was capable of doing for other boys and girls what it had done for him.  In all his business life he was a down-to-earth practical man, never one with his head in the clouds.  It was a shock when word was passed that he was dead.  People heard and could not speak.

            Laura Elrod was a slim widow lady whose home was on South Milton Street.  She lived in the little section that Ira Masten called "Tired Hill".  Mrs. Elrod had been a farm woman the greater part of her life and if there was a bush on her own lot that she wanted moved she picked up her spade and dug it up.  One time when she was doing some unusually hard outdoor task her son Claude came up behind her and said, "Mother, if you love hard work and lots of it, I'll hire you to cut forty acres of stalks for me down on the farm."  She laughed and laid off the work until Claude left and then went back and finished what she had started.

            Any near neighbor who had a bushel of beans to snap or shell knew the answer to the problem when Laura put her apron and came smiling across the lawn.  While she remained to see the work completed there was pleasant talk and laughter.

            She was never unhappy, never depressed, but always enthusiastic, always jolly.

            One who knew her well thought of her as the happy character in Browning's poem of "Pippa Passes".  Pippa was the lovely soul who brought joy and hope to all she passed and so did Laura Elrod.  A wonderful neighbor, a Christian lady, a neighborhood saint.

 

FINIS